Today I want to be back on the other side of the world. Where cobblestone streets, canals, buses, bicycles, and beauty abound. I long to be back in the heart of Amsterdam, sharing stories over coffee with strangers in a hostel of dreamers and nomads. Backpacks towering over dusty faces of adventurers with worn soles and weathered souls and hearts open like maps to the stars, because they caught a glimpse of something about being human that has them chasing cities like a dog chases cars.
It’s a dangerous game of risk and desire and never looking back and your heart might get burned along the way, but that’s just the price of being free. Of leaning into mystery. Of being fully known only in moments among strangers over something that is shared and spending the wandering days feeling misunderstood. And maybe we are all hopeless wanderers.
And maybe a handful of us find home in the eyes of strangers traveling the same weary road more than we find home in a set of digits affixed to the post of a permanent structure on a paved road between fences.
Wanderlust is a light that never goes out.
Comparison, competition, and conformity kill the beauty of individuality and gift of self-worth. We were each designed as unique beings – and when we live into our authentic, true selves, we do humanity a favor by playing our own unique part in the world. The culmination of this authentic individuality creates diversity in community and this diversity is something that we should celebrate, not fear.
What if instead of measuring our lives against the lives of others we instead sought to live our own best adventure – in whatever unique form that takes?
What if instead of competing for applause or approval or affirmation we instead focused on cultivating a community that empowers one another in their strengths?
What if instead of seeking to conform others to our way of perceiving life, we instead sought to learn from those whose ideas and view of the world might be different than ours?
This journey through life would be a much more beautiful and harmonious place if we celebrated diversity and sought to listen to the experiences of others more. For a moment, try to put aside your preconceived notions regarding race, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, and religion and let conversations and interactions with real people replace stereotypes. Just try it. Even if it is only a short-term experiment for you, maybe it will overflow into something that changes the way you love people and dramatically impacts the way you experience love.
At the end of the day, if rules dictate our life above love, then we are prisoners to ideas. But if love governs our life, then we get to experience the fullness and freedom of meaningful connection and authentic community and we are not slaves to comparison, competition, or conformity. So try it. Have a conversation with someone and listen to hear, not to respond. And if your boxes get shattered in the process, you are that much closer to freedom.